Sami Salo held court at Rogers Arena Thursday for the first time since rupturing an Achilles tendon in his native Finland this summer.
And based on Salo's timetable for a return, it may be months before the Vancouver Canucks' defenceman appears before inquiring minds to update his progress.
He suffered the injury July 22, playing a European form of floor hockey that Finnish players use for cardio training, and underwent surgery four days later. He said the procedure was performed by the same medical team that once operated on English soccer legend David Beckham.
"I was lucky to get in line that quickly," Salo told reporters.
Salo, 36, has rarely been lucky in an 11-year career that counts some 40 injuries, but this one was the cruellest yet, and he admitted embarrassment that it occurred in a recreational game. It will keep him off the ice until December at the earliest, and prevent him from joining perhaps the most talented group of Canucks ever assembled, as the franchise embarks on a 40th anniversary season filled with Stanley Cup dreams.
"We're a week away from getting on the ice, so it's very frustrating," Salo said, a reference to training camp, which begins Sept. 17 in Penticton, B.C.
Six weeks after surgery, Salo is walking without crutches. He is fitted with a walking cast on his right foot, but says he is exercising as much as possible.
Salo will begin the season on long-term injured reserve, and the Canucks have conceded that he could miss the entire regular season depending on how his recovery goes. Salo vowed to play in 2010-11, but said there was no timetable for his return to the ice.